Gladys de las Mercedes Ball de Herrera

Gladys de las Mercedes Ball de Herrera, 87, of Knoxville joined the choir of saints on Oct. 21 suddenly and without warning.

A funeral Mass for Mrs. Herrera was held on Oct. 28 at the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Mrs. Herrera was born on March 16, 1935, in Maracaibo, Venezuela, as the ninth of 11 children to José Rafael Ball Lossada and Mercedes María Díaz de Ball. Her greatest loves were Jesus, her family, and the Church. Her talents of cooking, creative storytelling, and a kind-hearted listening ear will forever go unmatched. She was the quintessential matriarch of her family and a leader of her beloved Catholic community in Knoxville.

She married the love of her life, Juan Antonio Herrera Pérez, on Dec. 19, 1959, in Caracas, Venezuela, and was blessed with two children.

In 1997, they moved to Knoxville to join their children and grandchildren and began attending the Spanish-language Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral and fostering a well-knit Hispanic Catholic community. One of her passions was serving the needy, tending to the sick, and feeding the hungry.

In 2018, she became a proud American citizen. Her 63-year marriage to Juan Antonio served as a beacon and example to all who witnessed their constant companionship and steadfast affection for each other. In 2015, she earned an Advanced Biblical Studies degree from the University of Dallas School of Ministry.

She is survived by her husband; sisters María Isabel Ball and Mercedes María Ball de Dominguez; children Dr. Juan Antonio Herrera (Kim) and Pérsides Zambrano (Angel Eduardo); grandchildren Lucas Antonio Herrera (Katherine), Mercedes Elena Zambrano, Maximiliano Antonio Herrera (Erika), Angel Ignacio Zambrano, and Dr. Noelle Daun Herrera; great-grandchildren Eli Antonio, Wilder Antonio, and Isabel Brinkley; cherished nieces and nephews who considered her their second mother, and all of her precious and beloved godchildren and many friends who still are with us to carry on her memory.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating time, talent, and treasure to a food bank, food pantry, or soup kitchen in Mrs. Herrera’s memory.

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